This week, Green.Org dove deep into the health of our soil systems with regenerative agriculture advocate Seth Itzkan. As the cofounder of Soil4Climate, Seth is dedicated to championing soil as a climate solution. The organization works to communicate the science, policy, and practices of restoring soil to reverse global warming. In addition to capturing carbon, the benefits of reinvigorating the living skin of our Earth can do the following: replenish water tables, increase nutrient density of foods, reverse desertification, mitigate conflict in dryland areas and, in general, provide promise for a bountiful and life affirming future.
Tell us a little bit about you, your background, and your current role:
I am cofounder of Soil4Climate. This is an educational charity that advocates for soil restoration as a climate solution. We bring attention to the scientists and practitioners who are advancing this field and host social media channels to expand awareness. Our public Facebook group has over 27,000 members from around the globe. Additionally, we help fund regenerative grazing and agroforestry projects in three countries in East Africa. In particular, we are supporting Maasai herders to do holistic planned grazing in Kenya and Tanzania and are helping to fund tree planting programs in Kenya and Malawi.
At the policy level we are active in bringing attention to healthy soils legislation in the United States and the world and maintain a database of US legislative efforts, complete with sponsoring representatives. Additionally, we are civil society members of several international coalitions dealing in soil health and sustainable livestock. In order to reach a larger audience and make the topic more accessible, we produced a music video, Brand New Sky, complete with our own original theme song.
What is a fun fact about you?
A fun fact about me is that I ate raw sheep liver to become an honorary member of the Ildalalekutuk group of Maasai in Kenya.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. It is not an overreach to say that civilization as we know it is in peril. The good news – if we can say that – is that facing this reality can compel us to reevaluate our place on this planet and to live in ways that are in accordance with natural systems. We can produce food even as we sequester carbon. This is an exciting prospect that motivates me and is the driving force behind Soil4Climate.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
We don’t have an “industry,” per se. We have a movement. I envision that in 10 years soil restoration will be recognized as one of the most important ways to reverse global warming. I also envision that food production, including the production of animal protein, will be seen as part of the holistic management of natural ecosystems, particularly of prairies and savannas. I believe regenerative grazing will be generally accepted as an essential practice in building soil health to sequester carbon, improve biodiversity, replenish water tables, and improve the livelihoods of rural people, including pastoralists. Additionally, I believe that most climate scholars and activists will realize the misdirection of the “less meat” narrative and will, instead, advocate for both more meat and for insistence on it being regeneratively sourced.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
The best thing an average person can do in this regard is to eat 100% grass-fed meat and to ask for it at the supermarkets and restaurants. People can also help advocate for healthy soils legislation and get to know the food producers who are engaging in regenerative practices. People can also join the Soil4Climate movement by becoming a member of our Facebook group or following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Green.Org is a television show, podcast, social media, and news platform, hosted by Dylan Welch, that highlights climate change scientists, renewable energy experts, and clean tech entrepreneurs by giving them a voice in the mainstream media. The Green podcast highlights leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts. If you are interested in being featured on Green, click HERE.